Brookline school principal accused of exposing self to boy at gym
A Pittsburgh Public Schools principal is on paid leave because police said he exposed himself to a teenage boy inside a sauna at a McCandless gym.
“In every case, things look extremely bad in the beginning for the defendant,” said James Ecker, an attorney for Alfonzo DeIuliis, 37, of Hampton. “Hopefully, things will look better by the end. We're looking forward to the trial.”
McCandless police on Tuesday charged DeIuliis with unlawful contact with a minor, indecent exposure and related counts. DeIuliis made no comment as he was released from the Allegheny County Jail at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday after posting bond.
DeIuliis is the principal at Brookline PreK-8. He makes $101,499 annually. District officials removed DeIuliis from the school at 11 a.m. Tuesday when notified of the charges. He will be on paid leave pending further investigation, spokeswoman Ebony Pugh said.
The incident in McCandless did not involve any district students, Pugh said. Parents received a letter about the incident on Wednesday, she said.
“I'm really shocked,” said Mark Kunz, 40 of Brookline, who has two children at the school. “I don't know how to explain it to them.”
The 17-year-old boy on Monday told police he was in the sauna of the LA Fitness gym on Duncan Avenue in McCandless on Aug. 12 when a man, later identified as DeIuliis, came into the sauna and removed his towel. The boy said the man began to masturbate, then touched him on the leg and asked if he could perform oral sex, according to a criminal complaint.
The boy fled the sauna, went home and told his mother, who called LA Fitness. At the time, management was unable to identify the man.
On Monday night, the boy saw DeIuliis in the locker room and then went into the sauna. When DeIuliis walked in, the boy reported him to gym managers, who called police. DeIuliis told police he didn't know or recognize the boy, the complaint states.
Ecker, who is representing DeIuliis with attorney Phil DiLucente, said he hasn't reviewed the case against his client, but he met with DeIuliis' father, sister and brother-in-law.
“They are very much behind him,” Ecker said.
Another McCandless officer recalled taking a complaint similar to the teenage boy's from a man at the gym in February. The man went to report the incident to management, and the other man left the gym in a black SUV. His license plate number came back to DeIuliis' 2009 black Hummer, the complaint said.
“The charges seem incredulous at this time,” DiLucente said. “He has spent his whole career working with children. ...The last thing he would ever do is hurt any child.”
DeIuliis began his career with Pittsburgh schools as a teacher in 2001, Pugh said. He went through a principal training program and was promoted in July. He passed the child abuse and criminal history background checks when he was hired, Pugh said, and passed update checks in April.
DeIuliis has worked at Roosevelt, Allegheny and King schools, Pugh said.
He was scheduled to appear at a school kickoff meeting on Tuesday night. Pugh said the event was postponed until next month.
“The Brookline staff is really strong,” said Sherry Hazuda, the school board member whose district includes the school. “It's a tough time for the school, but I have no doubt the teachers are going to step up and make sure the kids' education goes on as it should.”
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff writer Michael Hasch contributed to this report.